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Preferential elimination of CD28+ T cells in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and the relation with activation-induced apoptosis



CD28 on T cells provides a potent costimulatory signal for T cell activation. Down-regulation of CD28 on peripheral T cells has been reported in certain clinical conditions, but full studies on the mechanism and biological significance have not been performed. Our extensive phenotype analysis of peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) from SLE patients revealed that the absolute number of CD28+ T cells of both CD4 and CD8 phenotypes was selectively decreased, while that of CD28− T cells was maintained. CD28+ T cells from SLE patients exhibited mostly normal proliferative responses to both CD28-dependent and -independent stimulations. In contrast, CD28− T cells were hyporesponsive to anti-CD3 stimulation in both SLE and normal controls. These results implied that the selective decrease of CD28+ T cells in SLE does not result from a hyporesponsiveness of CD28+ T cells. To investigate the reason for the selective loss of CD28+ T cells, we determined the appearance of apoptotic cells in culture with or without anti-CD3 stimulation. Apoptotic cells defined by merocyanine (MC)540 were gradually increased from 12 h to 24 h. Anti-CD3-induced apoptosis of CD28+ T cells was significantly accelerated in SLE, whereas apoptosis of CD28− T cells was hardly detected in both SLE and normal controls. Comparative analysis between CD28+ and CD28− T cells on CD95 (Fas) and Bcl-2 expression, which are related to activation-induced cell death (AICD), did not show a major difference, although CTLA4, which has been demonstrated to transmit an apoptosis-inducing signal, was expressed only on CD28+ T cells. Our results suggest that CD28-mediated costimulation influences T cell susceptibility to AICD and may be involved in T cell lymphopenia in SLE

Topics: Original Articles
Publisher: Blackwell Science Inc
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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